Aggie quarterback Johnny Manziel tweeted out Saturday night “(Expletive deleted) like tonight is why I can’t wait to leave college station … whenever it may be.” He quickly deleted it and backpedaled, but if you don’t think Johnny Football is ready for college to be over, you aren’t paying attention.
He took only online classes and was on campus once a month this spring, attended the NBA Finals in Miami last week, threw out the first pitch at the Padres/Nationals game in San Diego and is the star of a music video. His exploits after winning the Heisman were well-documented.
And you know what? That’s totally fine. The guy isn’t hurting anyone and as long as his teammates and coaches (and AD) are OK with it, then there isn’t a problem …
But a guy partying with rappers, throwing out a first pitch on one coast and hitting an NBA Finals game on the opposite coast is done worrying about class, study hall and if he can make it to the bus stop before it leaves for campus. The tweet and the follow up (“walk a day in my shoes”) tell me he’s tired of defending himself about his off-the-field antics. Granted, most of the documentation of his off-the-field antics comes from Manziel himself and if he simply stopped telling everyone what he’s doing, a lot of the attention would go away; but he isn’t going to do that. He’s going to bide his time and apologize when he has to for the next six months, which is when he will declare for the NFL Draft.
I can hear Kevin Sumlin saying “What did he Tweet? WHAT?” and I can hear every other coach in the country saying “Please, please everyone just stay cool for seven more weeks.”
I need football to get here. Basketball is over (maybe not. This gets submitted before game 6), the Rangers STINK and the only thing on my mind, sports wise, is the coming football season. But it isn’t here yet, is it? No, no it isn’t. It’s brutal. But let’s move forward anyway, shall we? Yes. Yes we shall.
This week we start the breakdown of the 2013 season by taking a look at the personnel on the roster. Let’s take the seniors, the redshirt seniors, and see where they fit in and what happened to their peers. If you wonder why Texas had the drop off it did after the 2009 season, start with what’s below. This isn’t pretty, but it explains a lot. Let’s jump in with the class of 2009.
Class of 2009
The National Title was still a fresh memory for Longhorn fans and the Horns had just finished a magical season, one td pass short of a Heisman Trophy for Colt McCoy, a Big 12 Title (Texas would have HAMMERED Mizzou in that Title Game) and a Tebow vs. McCoy National Championship Game that, in my opinion, Texas would have been perfectly suited to win. Nonetheless, Texas went into 2009 ranked No.2 in the Nation and almost everyone had them in the Title Game against defending champ Florida and his Tebowness. Texas cashed in the spring of ‘09, bringing in the No.5 class nationally (no.3 in stars-per-player with a 3.85 ranking). This class had it all, including the quarterback of the future. Texas was set for the next four years with this class.… Well, hmm.
Three of these guys are big-time contributors or starters on the 2013 and a few others are now NFL players; however, some giant and numerous swings and misses left Texas lacking in talent in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and the result was, well, you saw the result.
Those three left are the old men on the team, the seasoned vets that are mentoring the very talented and exciting classes of ’12 and ’13. Let’s see who those old men are and what happened to the rest of the class.
No Longer with the Team (Underlined completed eligibility at Texas)
Tariq Allen, LB, 6-foot-2, 231 lbs, Irving (McArthur)
The 4-star never panned out at Texas. He left after two seasons and no playing time. I don’t see that he ended up anywhere else.
Thomas Ashcraft, OL, 6-foot-5, 300 lbs, Cedar Hill (CHS)
Also a 4-star recruit, Ashcraft never cracked the starting lineup at Texas, getting back up work in 2010, ’11 and ’12 after redshirting in 2009. He graduated last December and decided to give up football and move on, but last week it was announced he is enrolled and will play for SMU this fall.
Eyron Barnett, DB, 6-foot-3, 193 lbs, Euless (Trinity)
Barnett was a beast coming out of high school but injuries cost him 2009 and 2011 and he was passed up by younger guys. Barnett left the program and transferred to Montana State, where he plays now. The biggest highlight for Barnett at Texas was being the fourth member (already left the team) of the Pizza Parlor Incident.
Marcus Davis, DB, 6-feet, 192 lbs, League City (Clear Creek)
Another superstar expected to be a stalwart in the secondary, Davis was arrested for DWI and possession of a controlled substance in November of 2009. He was dismissed from the team and transferred to Oregon, but he didn’t last long enough to play, leaving the team after redshirting 2010.
Garrett Gilbert, QB, 6-foot-4, 205 lbs, Lake Travis (LTHS)
Moving on …
Marquise Goodwin, WR, 5-foot-10, 167 lbs, Rowlett (RHS)
Flash Goodwin, ladies and gentlemen. Goodwin came to Texas as a track star but got on the football field as a freshman, scoring the game-winning touchdown against ou in 2009. There was the kickoff return against A&M, the Holiday Bowl, and the Alamo Bowl. H left an NFL draft pick last spring, now with the Buffalo Bills. His career highlights.
Trey Graham, TE, 6-foot-5, 230 lbs, Waco (Midway)
Another guy with major knee issues, Graham missed two full seasons with injuries. He retired after graduating last fall.
Calvin Howell, DT, 6-foot-4, 280 lbs, San Antonio (Warren)
Howell was expected to produce quickly and he did, cracking the two-deep right away, but a head injury shut him down in 2009 and he redshirted. He was a backup in 2010 and started seven games, including the season opener, in 2011 and played in all 13. He was arrested in January of 2012 and decided to transfer/was asked to leave. Another potential star derailed by the police and their rules. Currently he is a senior at Illinois State.
Derek Johnson, DT, 6-foot-3, 290 lbs, Hoxie, AR (HHS)
After redshirting in 2009, Johnson left the program to be closer to home. Expected to be a run-stopping nose guard, he left without playing a down. Like D-Day in Animal house, his whereabouts are unknown.
Dominique Jones, DE, 6-foot-3, 230 lbs, Kilgore (KHS)
He redshirted in 2009 and moved to tight end, where he seemed to take over as the main blocker at the position, but grades cost him the 2011 Holiday Bowl and he never returned to the team.
Paden Kelley, OL, 6-foot-7, 270 lbs, Lake Travis (LTHS)
A backup that was thought to be a contender to be on the two-deep last year, he gave up football last summer. He played in 20 games, including all 13 in 2011. No real reasons given other than he just had enough.
Kyle Kriegel, DE/OL, 6-foot-5, 235 lbs, Elysian Fields (EFHS)
He never found a position at Texas, flopping from ol to dl, and eventually gave up football after graduating last December.
Barrett Matthews, TE, 6-foot-2, 220 lbs, Galena Park (North Shore)
He was too small to be an NFL type at tight end, but Matthews played in all but one game in his career at Texas. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was solid career for Matthews at Texas. Remember the td he caught at Tech in 2010? Me, too.
Tevin Mimms, DE, 6-foot-4, 242 lbs, Round Rock (Stony Point)
Expected to team with fellow Austinite Alex Okafor as the next great de tandem for the Horns, I was all-in on Mimms. He played well as a true freshman in 2009, but he had trouble in the class room and transferred to Navarro and eventually made his way to South Florida, where will be a senior.
Patrick Nkwopara, LB, 5-foot-11, 210 lbs, Grand Prairie (South Grand Prairie)
Redshirted in 2009, played on special teams in 2010 and left the team in 2011. I think he was a Muschamp guy and after he left for the Florida job, he was on the outside looking in and decided to focus on school.
Alex Okafor, 6-foot-4, 232 lbs, Pflugerville (PHS)
A superstar in the making at the next level. Okafor came to Texas a 5-star recruit- the biggest defensive name in the class- and lived up to the billing, playing immediately in 2009 before moving to dt in 2010, and back to end in 2011. His Alamo Bowl was as impressive as any single defensive effort last bowl season. Alex Okafor’s highlight film.
Greg Timmons, WR, 6-foot-3, 197 lbs, Aldine (Eisenhower)
I thought Timmons was going to be what Mike Davis is now, but it didn’t work out. He redshirted in 2009 and never broke the lineup in 2010 because, I think, he struggled with the speed of the game at the college level. He decided to transfer soon after the 2010 season ended, but I have no idea where or if he ended up playing anywhere else.
Kenny Vaccaro, DB, 6-foot-1, 197 lbs, Brownwood (BHS)
Started 32 games at safety for Texas and left 1st Team All-Big 12 and an All-America selection. 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2011. He burst on the scene as special teams demon in 2009 and left the 15th pick in the NFL draft. The pick against A&M was awesome, as were the rest of his career highlights.
Class of 2009- The Redshirt Seniors
Garrett Porter, OL, 6-foot-6, 290 lbs, Odessa (Permian)
Porter has played in 38 games at Texas and has three Academic All-Big 12 awards under his belt. Most of his work has been on special teams. He came to college as a tackle but ended moving inside to center, where he backs up Dominic Espinosa right now.
Mason Walters, OL, 6-foot-6, 290 lbs, Wolfforth (Frenship)
Walters is one of the salty leaders on the team. He started as a true freshman, but an injury cost him the year and he redshirted. Phil Steele says Texas has the No.1 ol in the country and a lot of that is based on the experience and personality of Walters … Yet I would like to see more of that personality. Exert yourself, Mr. Walters, and show these kids what time it is.
Chris Whaley, RB, 6-foot-3, 232 lbs, Madisonville (MHS)
The most intriguing recruit in the class of 2009, no one knew where Whaley would play. He was already so big that many assumed he’d move on from tailback, but Texas give him a shot. He redshirted in 2009 and, predictably, grew. He was a 265-pound tailback that also played h-back in 2010 before moving to defensive end in 2011, where he was a 275-pound beast at times. His bulking up continued and he moved inside to tackle in 2012, where he will be competing for a starting job this fall.
So never mind about the off-season being brutal. THAT is brutal: six guys from a class of 21 completed their eligibility at Texas. Attrition happens, as do injuries, but it is stunning to see 15 guys from the same class not finish their careers. Of those six that finished their careers, five were starters (Both Matthews and Chris Whaley started games in their careers) and four were every-down award candidates. I have nothing but respect for anyone that gets a scholarship to play football in college, and the fact they played at a top 25 Division I program in a BCS conference with the tradition, success and pageantry that Texas has is an astounding accomplishment in itself… However, you can’t have four full-time starters from a class of 21. You can’t have 75% of your class not finish their careers where they started. When you lose ¾ of your class half way through, including your 5-star quarterback, you will pay for it down the road. See 2010 and to a much lesser extent ’11 and ’12.
The good news is Texas is doing a MUCH better job of evaluating and developing the talent on hand (class of 2010: 25-man class, 8 no longer on campus, 8 others full-time starters) and the underclass talent on this team is beyond sick.
You don’t expect too many fifth year seniors on a roster anymore, but usually it’s more than three. Here’s to these three making the most of their final collegiate season.
See you in two weeks with the class of 2010.